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Sen. Cornyn meets with San Antonio health care providers to talk challenges of treating patients during COVID-19

Health care officials say their nurses are experiencing violence while treating patients.

SAN ANTONIO — Senator John Cornyn is back on the road after visiting nurses and doctors in San Antonio this afternoon. The Republican lawmaker met them for a roundtable discussion where he heard directly from staff about the challenges they're facing through the pandemic.

With year two of the COVID-19 pandemic nearing its end, health care leaders emphasized how tired their nurses are amid the labor shortage. 

Leaders with University Health, Baptist Health and Christus were just some of the participants at Wednesday's roundtable. They described how nurses were taking on new roles during the pandemic, such as dealing with multiple waves of COVID-19 and witnessing young people die.

Leaders even described their nurses experiencing violence while trying to treat patients, something Cornyn said he was surprised to hear.

The Texas Nurses Association is asking Cornyn to support the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which would require employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans.

Cornyn also said he’s fully vaccinated and recently received his booster shot, and suggests others do the same.

When asked about Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent executive order banning vaccine mandates, he said there is a conflict between the power of government and folks’ livelihoods that will ultimately be decided in court.

“But in the meantime, I would say this is kind of a distraction because people ought to take the good advice that health care providers are giving us and saying, 'Please get vaccinated for your own good and for your family’s good,'" Cornyn said.

Cornyn told leaders he plans to look into ways Congress can help with the nursing shortage.